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Microsoft and Linux Foundation Create 'Linux on Azure' Cert Program

A new Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) program came into existence this week for those seeking Linux on Azure certifications.

The program is backed by the Linux Foundation, which is providing testing support, along with Microsoft. The aim is to certify IT pro knowledge in using Microsoft's Azure cloud computing infrastructure to run Linux workloads in virtual machines.

Microsoft describes Azure as an open platform. It can run Windows or Linux and presently has about "one in four virtual machines" running Linux, according to a blog post by Alison Cunard, general manager of Microsoft Learning Experiences. She added that "half of the Azure Marketplace images are based on Linux."

The Azure Marketplace now houses several Linux distro images that can be run on virtual machines, including CentOS, CoreOS, OpenSUSE, Oracle Linux, Ubuntu and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, plus a new Debian addition. Microsoft provides some tech support for installing those images.

Those seeking MCSA Linux on Azure certifications need to pass two exams. One is Microsoft Exam 70-533, "Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions," which costs $150. Testers have to demonstrate skills implementing Web sites, virtual machines, cloud services, storage, Azure Active Directory and virtual networks. The other is the Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator exam, which costs $179. The Linux Foundation exam requires demonstrating knowledge about file systems and storage, system administration, security, scripting, and software management.

In recent years, Microsoft has accepted the notion that organizations will be running Linux, contrasting with its earlier "Linux is a cancer" period. Microsoft's support efforts for running Linux were noted by Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation, in a blog post this week about the new MCSA certification. Those efforts include an open source .NET release and even the use of Linux in some its products, such as the Azure Cloud Switch.

"A Microsoft-issued certification that includes the Linux Foundation Certified SysAdmin exam will most definitely allow professionals to stand apart from their peers and allow them the opportunity to work on the most interesting technologies of our time," Zemlin said, in a released statement.

Microsoft can now monetize Linux running on Azure, which may have prompted CEO Satya Nadella to declare a year ago that "Microsoft loves Linux." Since that time, the company brought its Linux collaboration efforts in house after initially establishing a separate company to address interoperability issues. Linux distributor Red Hat recently established a seat at Microsoft's Redmond campus to that end.

More information and resources about the new MCSA Linux on Azure certification program can be found at this Microsoft Learning page.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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